Euphoria is a quiet but explosive film about two sisters dealing with bubbling up conflicts that have been brewing for years. Alicia Vikander plays Ines and Eva Green plays Emilie.
Writer and director Lisa Langseth talks to the magazine about her journey making this film. One of the exciting facts about this film is Lisa is a playwright and this is her directorial debut and for almost a decade she’s been working with Vikander. This is their first film together. The magic on screen is noticeable as Vikander comes alive with Green.
This film is out now to rent wherever it’s streaming.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a script writer and director, living in Stockholm
Why did you decide to direct the film?
I’ve been interested in the complicated question regarding assisted suicide for a long time since it brings the idea of freedom of choice to a head. However, the more I research I made, I realized I did not want to make a debating movie. Instead I wanted to make a movie which carried the question within. The two sisters in the movie also deal with questions regarding how to handle pain. Ines, the younger sister, has a very rational view of the world, and it’s a matter of survival. The older sister, Emilie, feels more and perhaps that’s why she drowns in her emotions. There are no simple answers, no right or wrong, and the overall theme of the movie is life choices, what we choose to feel and not to feel and how we view reality.
What was the process like knowing as a writer you were also going to direct it?
Since I write everything I direct, the process for me was natural. I see myself as a writer turned director over time. But the starting point is always the text, the stronger it is, the easier it is for the director inside me to take over.
What was the color process for this film? This film reminds me of a distant past with the greys, almost old timey photo quality about it.
The cinematographer Rob Hardy and I wanted to make a movie beyond time. But the narrative also moves through a landscape between dream and reality, we wanted to create our own rules. Assisted suicide is a concept which many find deeply disturbing and approaching the subject with beautiful aesthetics is provoking, which I find interesting. It would have been easier to make a clinical and hard movie on the subject, but not as interesting. By trying to create a timeless landscape we were able to find our own balance between an absurd future and naturalism.
There is alot of silence in the film. Was that a built in choice or did the actors create that kind of space on set?
A lot of the silence stems from the nature surrounding the clinic. Allowing the clinic to be surrounded by strong and wild nature was crucial already in the script phase. While the people in the movie deal with existential issues, nature just stands there beside them and just is, nature does not ask, it just want to live and does anything in order to grow.
Why tell this story? What was something that really resonated with you?
The story deals with questions on how to live our lives, both in society and in our most intimate relationships. This is something I constantly ponder upon and these questions define my view of the world.
Do you have any fun moments to share while on set with the crew or cast?
Most of us stayed in the house where the movie was shot. Even off set we lived in the environment which was our world for a number of weeks. We came very close. The movie’s theme also invites conversations around how we view death, both our own and others’. I learned that our relation to death is our most intimate. When I have shown the movie I have also realized it evokes extremely opposite sentiments from different people and in different countries, I think a lot of it depends on our different inner conversations regarding our own death.
What was the post production process like? How long did it take? Did you find anything new once you began cutting that you never realized before while on set?
Since this story is so much about images, there were different possibilities regarding disposition. Most of all the rhythm of the story. Finding the balance between the higher and the basic story.
What do you love about telling strong female character driven stories?
For me it is only natural to tell stories about female characters, the simple reason is I find it more interesting. Partly because I am a woman and partly because the female experience isn’t explored enough in movies. But this is not primarily a movie dealing with female issues, it is a movie about our understanding of death – it concerns us all. There is still a notion women should deal with women’s issues, and male directors deal with ”the rest”, such as life and eternity. I find it important to create stories where women carry universal questions about the whole of reality.
What's next for you?
Right now I am working on something completely different, it is a drama comedy.
Check out this additional interview from Variety at the Toronto film festival in 2017 with Vikander and the director.
If you were stuck on an abandoned island what five items would you take with you?
Besides my children and my husband, a lot of good food and a good T.V. series
)If you could meet anyone living or dead and have lunch with them who would it be?
Jane Campion – an amazing director who has always gone her own way.